Preview: Dragons v Zebre

Date published: September 8 2016

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Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones welcomes back Wales international wing Hallam Amos for Friday's PRO12 clash with Zebre at Rodney Parade.

He starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by Adam Warren and last weekend's try-scorer Pat Howard.

The centre partnership sees Rugby World Cup star Tyler Morgan named in the starting XV alongside Sam Beard while the half-backs are unchanged as Nick Macleod and scrum-half Sarel Pretorius retain their positions.

Loosehead prop Thomas Davies make his first start for the region, alongside hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas and tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother.

Rynard Landman and Nick Crosswell are the locks whilst the back-row consists of captain Lewis Evans alongside Nic Cudd and Ed Jackson.

Meanwhile, Zebre have made several changes after their heavy loss to the Ospreys as Tommaso Boni replaces Tommaso Castello at inside centre while Carlo Canna is at fly-half in place of Edoardo Padovani.

In the pack Quintin Geldenhuys comes in for Federico Ruzza in the second-row while Oliviero Fabiani and Andrea De Marchi start in the front-row.

Guillermo Roan, Gideon Koegelenberg, Carlo Engelbrecht and Matteo Pratichetti all start on the bench.

Zebre are without the injured Mattia Bellini, Dion Berryman, Joshua Furno, Andrea Manici, Johan Meyer, Matteo Panunzi, Bruno Postiglioni, Kayle Van Zyl, Giovanbattista Venditti and Marcello Violi while Andrea Lovotti is suspended.

Form: The Dragons have not been victorious in the PRO12 since they entertained Leinster at Rodney Parade on 29 January. Dragons only home defeat to an Italian side since 2007 was 32-33 to Treviso in the PRO12 in April 2012. Zebre’s solitary victory in the Championship since 3 January was 47-22 over Dragons in Parma in Round 22 last season. Zebre have scored no points by way of kicks away from home in the PRO12 since early January. The last four matches between the two sides have all been won by the home team on the day, whilst Zebre’s overall record at Rodney Parade is played four, lost four, scoring two tries and conceding eleven. 

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Adam Warren, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Sam Beard, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans (c), 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Thomas Davies
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Thomas, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones

Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Lloyd Greeff, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Gabriele Di Giulio, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Maxime Mbandà, 6 Jacopo Sarto, 5 George Biagi (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Guillermo Roan, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Matteo Pratichetti, 23 Edoardo Padovani

Date: Friday, September 9
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Cammy Rudkin (Scotland), Gareth John (Wales)

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